Where It Began

The Rotary Club of Aurora was chartered April 14, 1954 at the Townhouse Restaurant at Colfax and Peoria. 

There were 28 charter members, none of whom are still in our club. Roy Miller, manager of  Penney’s was our first president. We were sponsored by the Denver Club.
The Aurora Rotary Club has had a history of dynamic members who have lived up to our motto, Service Above Self. They have been a part of the many projects and accomplishments of our club.  Some additional projects are listed below in no particular order or time frame:

Fishing Derby, Golf Tournaments, Trash Pickup, Habitat for Humanity, Gateway Parade, Reforestation in Jamaica, Interact Clubs, RYLA, October Fest, Pumpkin Fest, Homestead Home, Peaceful Schools, Shots for Tots, Polio Plus, Youth Exchange, Flower Power, State of the City, State of the Base.

Timeline of Club Projects and Highlights

1955

1955

A project that lasted several years was bringing Santa Claus to Aurora City Park at 16th and Dayton, by helicopter. Candy and gifts were handed out to the kids. They then went to the Aurora Fox Theater to see cartoons.

1955
1958

1958

1958 Started the Aurora YMCA. The entire board consisted of Rotarians.

1958
1959

1959

Started participating in the Youth Exchange program. Our first incoming student was from Australia.

1959
1960

1960

Organized and promoted a bicycle safety program with the Aurora Police Department. Dollars for Scholars was started this year.

1960
1962

1962

A fire that destroyed the Townhouse forced us to move to the Emporia Lounge at Colfax and Emporia. This building known as the Cityscape Building was recently razed to make way for the new development.

1962
1963

1963

The Rural-Urban Project was a huge success. Lou  Tandy chaired the program. We purchased an animal for a young 4H student to raise. He then sold the animal and the proceeds were used to further his education or to purchase more livestock.

1963
1964

1964

Our meeting place was moved to the China Doll, which proved to be a popular location for make-ups from Denver. Sometimes the visitors outnumbered our members

1964
1965

1965

The Salvation Army bell-ringing started this year. Our first location was the old Woolco store at 6th and Peoria. Fundraisers were held to finance the project of lighting the swimming pool in north Aurora.

1965
1966

1966

The International Convention was held in Denver. Entertainment consisted of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, The Westernaires, and a musical program at Red Rocks Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Lord Caradon, British Ambassador to the United Nations, were featured speakers. Initiated project to light baseball fields at Highline Park. Our first outgoing Exchange Student was Jane Radcliffe who was hosted by the Pajala, Sweden Club.

1966
1968

1968

Tracy Burt was our first delegate to an International Convention. It was held in Mexico City.

1968
1969

1969

We purchased a bus for handicapped children at First Creek Elementary School. A new car was raffled off as a fundraiser. Also, many Rotarians donated cash for the privilege of cutting President Ed Legate’s hair.

1969
1971

1971

We sponsored a group study exchange to Wales. A project honoring the City Employee of the month was started. Rotarian Jim Murray was the first recipient of the award for instituting  Student Day in Government.

1971
1973

1973

Pickens Tech was named after past president Tom Pickens. Our meeting place was moved to Wyatt’s Cafeteria in Hoffman Heights.

1973
1975

1975

The Outstanding Student award was started.

1975
1976

1976 – 1977

John Fuhr was our district governor. President Ben Wintergalen, Ray Nichols, and Bob Solomon co-chaired the district convention at the Broadmoor.

1976
1978

1978

The Rotary Ann group was formed. The spouses of Rotarians met once a month and were very helpful in our projects. Our meeting place was moved to the Holiday Inn at I-70 and Chambers to accommodate the increase in membership. Celebrated the Club’s 25th Anniversary.

1978
1979

1979

We purchased a van for the Red Cross. We furnished drivers for several years.

1979
1971

1971

We sponsored a group study exchange to Wales. A project honoring the City Employee of the month was started. Rotarian Jim Murray was the first recipient of the award for instituting  Student Day in Government.

1971
1980

1980

Sponsored a Flea Market in a vacant space in the Hoffman Heights Shopping Center.

1980
1981

1981

Lyn Gamber and Bill Nakaoka became the first Aurora Rotarians to receive the Paul Harris Fellowship. The Aurora Rotary Foundation was organized.

1981
1982

1982

The very successful Art Auction was our major fundraiser for the next 5 years.

1982
1983

1983

The Pride in Aurora Project chaired by Jerry Allen was a major event. A Balloon Festival was held as the featured attraction.

1983
1984

1984

The club moved to the Holidome on Chambers and I-70. The Pride In Aurora Project moved to Front Range Airport and had 63 hot air balloons participate. The first woman, Skip Schlenk, joined the club.

1984
1986

1986

The club moved to Heather Ridge Country Club at Iliff and I-225.

1986
1988

1988

The Polio Plus Project was chaired by Jim Suss and raised nearly $45,000.

1988
1989

1989 – 1990

The fall of the Berlin Wall. Matthias Kuntzsch was a symphonic conductor from Berlin who had married Sylvia Anderson, an Aurora soprano. He had multiple recordings on Deutsche Grammophon records and was a guest conductor with the Colorado Symphony and other organizations nationally and internationally. He was also a Rotarian and each time he would visit our club, we would call on him to give us first-hand updates on events in Berlin. He spoke with passion and with tears in his eyes as he celebrated this great event. He loved this country and Presidents Bush and Reagan.

1989
1991

1991

Organized an immunization project for low-income families.

1991
1992

1992

Established a Sister City Program relationship with the Toyohashi Rotary Club. Started Raffle Program as a major fundraiser.

1992
1993

1993

Chartered the Parker Rotary Club along with the Castle Rock Club. Jerry Kraus and Doug Evans headed up the effort.

1993
1994

1994

Held Talent Show as a fundraiser and entertainment.

Gayle Glaser was the first woman president of the club.

1994
1996

1996

Toured NORAD. Tracy Burt headed the committee to establish the Gateway Rotary Club.

1996-97: Jerry Kraus was District Governor and Doug Evans was chair for the District Conference.

1996
1997

1997

The Live and Learn Program was started and spearheaded by Dave Myers and Chuck Truzinski. The Live and Learn Program won district honors as the Best New Program and the Best Youth Program. An ambulance was sent to Central America.

1997
1999

1999

Flower Power, a program to deliver flowers from the Garden Show to nursing homes, proved to be a great success thanks to Bob Stanbery and his many volunteers.

1999
2000

2000

The Cambodia Project is a tremendous International Project that has the cooperation of other clubs in the district.

2000
2003

2003

The Cambodia Project, now a joint effort by Aurora, Parker, Smoky Hill, DIA, and Gateway Clubs won the World Community Service Award.

2003
2006

2006

The club moved from Heather Ridge Country Club to the Double Tree Hotel. The fall of 2006 was our first annual First Responders Luncheon coordinated with Dan Oates our new police chief and headed by Kimberly Armitage.

2006
2007

2007

We authorized Jim Rogers to research an international water project for us to pursue. A new director position was established called “Club Administrator. The primary purpose was to maintain the Club website and do a weekly newsletter. Jerry Allen was appointed to the position. Kimberly Armitage, club president, initiated the “walk for dessert” part of the meal. (It was supposed to make it easier to forgo desserts)

2007
2014

2014 – 2015

2014-2015  – Linda Witulski, President.
Officers:  Linda Witulski President, Rob McGregor VP, Treasurer Debbie Neeley, Secretary Gene Spanerella, Social Kimberly Armitage

 It was a productive year!
Read more…

2014
2015

2015 – 2016

Rob McGregor, President.

2015
2016

2016 – 2017

Patti Bateman, President.
Officers: Joel Kruschwitz, President Elect (PE, or VP); Regina Edmondson, President Elect Nominee (PEN); Thiensa Nguyen, Treasurer (Art Wolfe, Assistant Treasurer); Gene Spanerella, Secretary; Kim Armitage, Social Services.  
The Club accomplished several community projects
Read on…

2016
2017

2017 – 2018

Joel Kruschwitz, President.

2017
2019

2019 – 2020

Regina Edmondson, President

2019
2020

2020

Don Massey (partial year), President

2020

Historical Video Chronicles Aurora Rotary’s first 50 years

To help celebrate the Club’s first 50 years, a committee led by George Peck compiled historical information including photos and documents to help capture the long and distinguished history of The Rotary Club of Aurora.  Serving on the Committee that gathered and sorted through a number of boxes of material were Jerry Allen, Pete Engelken, Lyn Gamber, Jerry Kraus, Bill Nakaoka, Ev Sequeira, and Lois Tafoya.

The final product, a 58 minute DVD, was written, directed, and narrated by Peck, and produced in association with  the production company “Remember When.”   It included not only pictures from the past, but interviews with several members of the club, including Lynn Gamber, Tracy Burt, Bill Nakaoka,  Karen Johnson, and John Paroske to help place each of the club’s five decades in proper perspective.  Many memorable moments including a number from past Rotary Talent (and No-Talent) Shows made their way into the production. 

The video was presented in big-screen splendor at a special celebration luncheon that included family members and the District Governor, Diane Kassel on Nov 3, 2004.  It was such a hit that through the generosity of Doug Evans, Ron Maclachlan, Jerry Kraus, John Paroske, and Paul Suss, a copy was presented to each of the 84 members at the Annual Holiday Party in December 2004. 

A copy of the “Rotary Club of Aurora 50th Anniversary Celebration 2004” DVD may be borrowed from the Club Secretary. 

https://youtu.be/eyApC6TOJ4M
https://youtu.be/o-w34nj-0Xk
https://youtu.be/XlR1pBkXk0Y
https://youtu.be/orGArbTPzHc

Past Presidents

 1954-55, Roy J. Miller

1955-56, George R. Day

1956-57, Clarence A. Rutz

1957-58, Bentley A. McMillin

1958-59, Paul E. Rouse

1959-60, John D. Savier

1960-6, Bill H. Holt

1961-62, Jack Fleming

1962-63, Verner H. Crayne

1963-64, Raymond E. Nichols

1964-65, John Fuhr

1965-66, William B. McMurry

1966-67, William T. Nakaoka

1967-68, Tracy N. Burt

1968-69, John E. Legate

1969-70, Joe W. Sullivan

1970-71, Thomas H. Pickens

1971-72, Robert J. Solomon

1972-73, Roger A. Yarwood

1973-74, Gerald A. Allen

1974-75, M.L. Webster

1975-76, Edgar J. Engelken

1976-77, Henry R. Graves

1977-78, Bernard J. Wintergalen

1978-79, Charles Kirk

1979-80, Joseph Shadt

1980-81, Gerald Kraus

1981-82, William Rapp

1982-83,  Vic Barker

1983-84, Robert Brooks

1984-85, Stanley Whitaker

1985-86, William Wiggins

1986-87, Douglas Evans

1987-88, Brian Daigle

1988-89, Jack Alexander

1989-90, Kevin Evans

1990-91, John Kennedy

1991-92, Arlen Cohn

1992-93, Paul Suss

1993-94, Rex Covault

1994-95, Gayle Glaser

1995-96, Douglas Anthony

1996-97, Richard K. Richard

1997-98, Craig E. Wagner

1998-99, Jerald K. Mastenbrook

1999-2000, Ruth Ann Kirschman

2000-01, Karen Johnson

2001-02, Steve Marshall

2002-03, Kevin Hougen

2003-04, Stephen Brunston

2004-05, John Paroske

2005-06, George Peck

2006-07, Ken Hostetler

2007-08, Kimberly Armitage

2008-09, Debbie Lynch

2009-10, Susan Perkins

2010-11, Tom Nicholas

2011-12, Howard Hall

2012-13, Ev Sequeira

2013-14, Steve Snyder

2014-15, Linda Witulski

2015-16, Rob McGregor

2016-17, Patti Bateman

2017-18, Joel Kruschwitz

2018-19, Jim Bickford

2019-20, Regina Edmondson